Today Is Tolkien Reading Day: Read The Hobbit to Your Kids

Geek Culture

Reading from The HobvitReading from The Hobvit

Tolkien Reading Day: A great occasion to read The Hobbit to your kids (photo: Ethan Gilsdorf)

Tolkien Reading Day occurs each year on March 25 — the actual day in The Lord of the Rings when Frodo and the Fellowship were successful in destroying the One Ring and defeating Sauron. To honor that, The Tolkien Society wants you to read anything by Tolkien. The occasion is a great way for children to be introduced to Tolkien’s works for the very first time.

Because 2012 is also the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit, and later this year, in December, will mark the release of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the Tolkien Society asks, “Why not sit down for half an hour this Sunday and relax with a chapter from The Hobbit?”

The Hobbit book jacketThe Hobbit book jacket

The Hobbit. Crack open the book and read it to your kids.

Indeed, how exactly to read The Hobbit to your kids (or nephews or nieces) elicited a short discussion here on GeekDad. Some GeekDads wondered how to do all the voices — dwarvish, hobbit, dragon and otherwise. Others talked about how their throats get raw tackling Tolkien’s dialogue and narration. It’s “nigh-impossible to come up with 13 distinct voices that all sound appropriate, let alone to keep track of which voice goes with which dwarf,” said one of our intrepid contributors. “I ended up doing one voice for Thorin and another for the other 12.” Another read The Hobbit to his wife’s belly while she was pregnant.

So let’s put this to the peanut gallery: What’s the best way to read The Hobbit to your kids? How do you do voices? Which chapters are the hardest? Which stuff don’t kids get? Is some material too scary, like the dialogue between Bilbo and Smaug, or Bilbo and Gollum? What age group works best? Does your Gollum sound like Andy Serkis’s or do you have your own twist? How do you sing the songs? Feel free to comment below.

Founded by the Tolkien Society in 2002, Tolkien Reading Day encourages the appreciation of all things J.R.R. Tolkien. This year, the Tolkien Society has created some online resources with ideas and suggestions to help you and your kids or students enjoy this book, including plot summaries and activity suggestions for children.

2012 also marks the “Return of the King,” a harmonious blending” of events celebrating Tolkien, ranging from “academic, fandom, artistic, musical, creativity and partying” this August 16-20 at England’s Loughborough University.

Read more about Tolkien Reading Day here.

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